Congratulations—you’ve done it! You found The One. (Not your soul mate—your wedding dress.) Now, it’s time to accessorize. While selecting your wedding jewelry can seem just as daunting, it doesn’t have to be. “Jewelry and accessories make a dress belong to the bride,” says bridal stylist Lauren Hartman. “They really give it that personal touch.”
Meet the Expert
Lauren Hartman is the founder of Philadelphia-based bridal and fashion styling company Trousseau Style.
This means, of course, that you don’t need to entirely reinvent the wheel when it comes to completing your ensemble. Trust your instincts, pick what you like, and follow a few of Hartman’s best style tips, and you’ll have a wedding day look you’ll remember fondly for years to come.
Wedding Jewelry Tips
Find your comfort zone—then push it.
While it might not be every day that you wear a wedding dress, chances are you’re a bit more familiar with jewelry. You know what works and what you feel most confident in, so let that be a baseline for your wedding look. “If you never wear earrings, let’s not use your wedding day as the first time you bring out a statement earring,” explains Hartman.
Instead, take note of the pieces you feel most comfortable in and turn those up a notch. Never leave home without a stud? Find a more formal version with multiple stones. Love a good arm candy stack? Layer two glitzier bracelets of the same style. Another approach: think back on outfits you’ve worn and loved for other formal occasions—such as other people’s weddings—and pick jewelry pieces in a similar vein.
Don’t worry about perfectly matching your rings.
Your engagement ring and wedding band are meant to be worn every day of your marriage, so they should already reflect the personal style you’ll want to emulate in the rest of your wedding jewelry. That said, things don’t have to perfectly match. (Having an emerald-cut engagement ring, for example, doesn’t mean you have to wear emerald-cut diamond earrings.) Metals don’t have to perfectly match, either. “If your engagement ring is platinum, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring gold into your wedding day look,” says Hartman. “Just be intentional in your choices.”
Build-in sentimental pieces from the beginning.
While jewelry is a great way to work in “something borrowed,” the last thing you want is for Nana’s pearls or your favorite aunt’s bangles to feel like an after-thought. If there’s a particular piece you know you’ll want to wear, Hartman suggests bringing it along while dress shopping—that way there’s no risk of it not matching.
If an heirloom piece is being handed down to you for your wedding day (i.e. you’re not borrowing it), consider working with a jeweler to remake it into something more in line with your personal style. Don it for the first time when you marry, then bring it out again for special occasions—or even everyday wear—to relive the memories.
Prioritize personal style over Pinterest trends.
The wedding world is certainly not immune to trends, and there’s no shame in embracing the ones that truly speak to you. (In fact, that’s half the fun!) That said, don’t chase a look that doesn’t feel right for you just because it’s all over social media. “Trends are going to come and go, but your wedding photos last forever,” says Hartman. “It’s more important to make decisions based on personal style and sentimental reasons—that way, you can look back and say, ‘Those pieces really meant something to me’ rather than ‘I saw someone on Pinterest wearing this, so I wore it, too.’”
Understand that Mom might not always know best.
Different generations have different ideas of what getting dressed for your wedding day should look like. For Mom, going formal might automatically mean putting on a necklace, but these days, Hartman says, it’s all about the statement earring. (And, she adds, the décolletage is “such a beautiful spot on a woman’s body, you don’t necessarily need to embellish it any further.”) All that to say: don’t feel pressured to shop for a piece just because someone else thinks you should wear one.
Match your necklace to your neckline.
If you are going to wear a necklace, Hartman says the general rule of thumb is to pick one that follows the neckline of your dress. V-necks work best with a pendant; chokers and statement necklaces go better with strapless and sweetheart necklines. No matter the neckline, the necklace should sit on your skin, not the dress, if there is skin showing.
Don’t be afraid to mix up your metals.
Poke around the internet a bit and you might read that certain jewelry metals go with certain shades of dress: platinum and silver for pure white; yellow gold for ivory and champagne; rose gold for blush. Hartman, however, doesn’t quite agree. “I love blush with a beautiful platinum, and a true white with a true gold—that is such a statement,” she says. While some metal tones and colors do fight each other, set aside the “rules” and trust your eye to tell you what works.
Let your veil take the spotlight.
“You have to have a focal point,” says Hartman. “If your dress is the cake, choose one thing to be the icing.” If that one thing is going to be a veil with appliqués or a lot of texture or embellishment, play it a little more simple with your jewelry.
Know you can always switch things up.
The jewelry you wear for your ceremony doesn’t have to be the jewelry you wear for the rest of the wedding. If that statement veil keeps you from wearing statement earrings, change into some sparklers for the reception. If your long-sleeve bolero or gown topper prevents you from wearing bracelets, fill your arms with bangles when you take it off. Though you can also do an entirely new second look dress for the reception, an accessory switch-up is a more budget-friendly approach that will still have the desired impact.
Wedding Jewelry Ideas & Inspiration
Still not quite sure where to begin when it comes to selecting your wedding jewelry? Here’s a few general approaches to inspire your search.
Currently Trending Wedding Jewelry
“In the past year, rules have been re-written,” says Hartman. “People are getting more personal, creative, and sentimental, and leaving traditional choices behind.” Rather than making fashion and jewelry decisions based solely on aesthetics, Hartman is seeing more brides focused on supporting local designers, shopping with brands who align with their values, or remaking heirloom jewelry for a more sustainable approach.
“I’m also seeing a lot of headbands,” she adds. “It’s a cool, refreshed way to do a flower crown or a tiara.” Another chic idea? An intentional hit of black—particularly in a ribbon or silk organza hair bow.
Classic Wedding Jewelry
“There’s nothing more classic to me than diamonds or pearls,” says Hartman. A high and tight stud, a diamond tennis bracelet—these are timeless pieces that’ll look just as elegant now as they will in 25 years.
Romantic Wedding Jewelry
“Go with something that has a lot of movement or floral elements,” says Hartman. An etched metal with a leaf or a vine, complete with stones at the center of the flower buds, will look gorgeous at a garden or vineyard wedding.
Glam Wedding Jewelry
Take a cue from Old Hollywood—sparkle is key, but you don’t want to overdo it. Pick one piece of jewelry to focus on, and let the rest be supporting characters.
Boho Wedding Jewelry
Now is the time to mix your metals, and opt for pieces with textured, woven, or braided designs. More organically-shaped gemstones—hello, freshwater pearls!—are great for this aesthetic, too.